A Busy Day

An account of a very busy and important day in my life, intended to be written as positively as possible.

INTRODUCTION

I am finally relaxing at home after being on the go since about 10:30AM today with various things. This has been a very important and very tiring day for me. 

DOCTORS SURGERY 1: BLOOD TEST FOR MAGNESIUM COUNT

Owing to the fact that I was nearly out of chewable magnesium pills (I have been on three a day among the large number of medications I take) I was required to attend the doctor’s surgery for a blood test to assess whether I needed more magnesium or not. This was followed by a return home for…

DISCUSSIONS WITH PEOPLE FROM TAPPING HOUSE RE ONGOING SUPPORT AND PALLIATIVE CARE

This session, which ended up lasting for over an hour, was easily the most constructive I have had with any sort of support workers over the whole time since I became ill. They listened and understood as I told them about the negative effects autism has on me specifically and how that impacts on my support needs. They made some wonderdul suggestions about how best to help me, and it is quite clear that are extremely serious about doing everything possible to support me through my recovery. 

I actually felt, as I have not in other circumstances over these few months, that I was being regarded as of interest as a human being, not merely as a patient or as an example of an autistic person (though recognition of this last is hugely important and thoroughly welcomed). 

I now believe I can look to the future in the certainty that support which is tailored to my specific needs will be available to me, and that is HUGE news.

LUNCH WITH MY AUNT

When my mother and I initially planned today we had intended to have lunch at Pizza Express, but the tightening of the schedule made that an impossibility. My aunt provided an excellent lunch and as proof that my appetite is returning I was able to eat two platefuls of food. Then it was time for…

THE OPTICIANS

My mother had arranged an appointment at Vision Express in King’s Lynn for me to have my eyes properly tested. My current spectacles, which will become my back-up pair in about ten days time definitely address my astimgatism, but they do not fully address the other eye issue I have that lenses can correct, my mild myopia. 

I accepted the advice of the experts and for a considerable price went for varifocals tailored to the needs of an IT Professional (which when I am well enough to work is what I what I am). 

There do not appear to be any really serious problems with my eyes, although as a safety measure the optometrist made a non-urgent referral to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (which means I shall see them in about six months time – they are permanently struggling).

All in all I was at the opticians for nearly two hours, with a lot of getting up and down and sitting in chairs that may look nice but don’t actually offer a lot of support.

After this it was time for a…

A TOP UP SHOP AT SAINSBURY’S

This was accomplished with a minimum of fuss once we had got there, although there was an incident in the car park that was nearly very unpleasant indeed. A blue van whose driver was clearly about a million light years away mentally pulled out right across our car (it was our right of way – he was bang out out of order), and we came much to close to a crash (of which I would have borne the brunt) for comfort. My mother limited her official response to a single blast on the horn. I can only hope that this near miss woke the driver up properly and he was more careful for the rest of his journey.

We were sufficiently quick shopping to have time for a very short break having…

HOT DRINKS AT MY AUNTS HOUSE

These had to consumed fairly rapidly because of yet another late addition to our busy schedule. I had developed an ache in my left thigh area, which necessitated…

THE DOCTOR’S SURGERY 2: BLOOD TEST FOR POTENTIAL CLOTTING

During my time as an in-patient I had a blood clot around the original site of my piccline, in my left arm, and then a little later an episode of severe chest pain which was mainly caused by pericarditis but contributed to by a small pulmonary embolism, so the possibility of a clot in an unusual location had to be taken seriously. 

Thus a tiny sampleof blood was taken from one of my fingers to be tested. Fortunately it came back negative. I have been prescribed extra pain killers but apart from the discomfort it causes there does not be anything serious about the problem with my left leg.

HOME AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally, with the clock close to 6PM I was able to leave the surgery and be driven home. I am now somewhat rested from my exertions, and in less pain. Finally for, those of you who have made it to the end, here are some pictures:

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This jellyfish in glass is on display at my aungt’s house.
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All the remaining pictures come from Addenbrookes, taken this Monday.

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A Meal Out and Cricket

Accounts of a meal out last night and of the state of play at the MCG (very satisfying for a Pom, who by default supports Australia’s opponents!).

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with two unrelated events – last night’s supper at The Market Bistro in King’s Lynn (another staging post in my convalescence from cancer – coping with an evening out in public, which for an autistic person can be a challenge even at the best of times) and the amazing happenings overnight UK time at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I have some pictures as well.

SUPPER AT THE MARKET BISTRO

I intended to eat a full meal and have the one alcoholic drink I can allow myself at present. My father arrived to give me a lift there as planned at about 6:30. Then he went to collect my sister from West Lynn where she was staying, a taxi firm having her down. 

The food was excellent – I ate an amuse bouche but declined the bread and butter as I had ordered two courses to which I intended to do full justice (and succeeded). My starter was a duck terrine covered by a potato cage and missing (at my specific request) the egg that should have been part of it. It was delicious, though an incongruously small portion to be served in the middle of a monster sized plate. For the main I opted for pork belly accompanied by smoked beetroot, various salad type vegetables and game chips. It was excellent in every respect, and judging from the fact that every plate at the table was clean by the time we finished so was everyone else’s. I washed the meal down with a beer that was brewed in Wisbech and was absolutely delicious (and at 5% alcohol not fiendishly strong – I rejected a couple of other options as being too strong in the circumstances). 

By the time I drained the last of the beer it was just after 8:30PM and I was feeling the need for home. My father gave me a lift back, and that was the end of my activity for the day.

INDIA TAKE CONTROL AT THE MCG

Over the first two days play in the Boxing Day test match at the MCG it looked like a repeat of last year’s Ashes match at the same ground with the drop-in pitch (in spite of retaining its name the MCG is preimarily an Aussie Rules venue these days) apparently lacking any pace or life. Bowlers could not get wickets and the lack of pace meant that batsmen were scoring slowly. Going into day three the scoreboard read India 443-7D, Australia 8-0.

Suddenly things started to happen. First Jasprit Bumrah bowled magnificently to record a test best 6-33 as Australia were rock ‘n’ rolled for 151. India then decided that a lead of 292 was not quite sufficient to go for the innings win and batted a second time. Patrick Cummins proceeded to knock the top of that second innings, backed up by some nasty stuff from Josh Hazlewood (both bowlers regularly propel the ball at over 145 kilometres per hour), and India closed the day at 54-5 in their second innings, a lead of 346, and almost certainly given the difficulties of chasing big runs in the final innings a victory awaiting. Nonetheless I think Kohli was wrong not to enforce the follow on – I would have much preferred to see him go for the quick kill. In the context of test cricket I would decline to enforce the follow on only if one up in the final match of a series, which this is not. Out of some 2,500 test matches a mere three have been won by teams who were made to follow on – England did it aided by the weather at Sydney in 1894, England did it again at Headingley in 1981 when Ian Botham famously “gave it some humpty” and Bob Willis then bowled like a man possessed to take 8-43 and then there was the Kolkata match when Laxman made 281, Dravid 180, India declared their second innings at 657-7 and dismissed a demoralised Australia for 212 to win by 171 runs (yes folks, the only test team ever to have lost a test match after enforcing the follow on are the Aussies, victims on the only three occasions such a comeback happened).

PICTURES

Here are the promised pictures:

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All bar one of these pictures are postcards in an album. Although this Beck mpa is faded I still felt it belonged at the front.

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Ending the selection for the album with one about progress.
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A Thatcher themed £50 note (defo not legal tender!)

Christmas Update

A brief account of my Christmas period and how I managed to enjoy it in spite of limitations imposed by current state of health.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I will tell the story of my activities since Monday, and the continuing tale of rhe improvement in my state of health and happiness. There are plenty of accompanying pictures. 

MONDAY – MAINLY ADDENBROOKES

Unlike the previous Monday this day although still fairly long went basically smoothly, with my treatments running exactly as planned. I was by this stage sufficiently improved to walk around the main hospital building rather than using a wheelchair. In preparation for the day I had selected three books from my shelves, and this proved a wise choice as I read all three while at the hospital.

I took some photos of some of the artwork on display at Addenbrookes as well…

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These displays of famous people associated with Cambridge were created by the legendary Quentin Blake who cut his teeth as Roald Dahl’s illustrator.

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I am particularly glad to see Rosalind Franklin credited in this panel (something neither Watson nor Crick did at the time after being shown her work without her having been consulted)

CHRISTMAS DAY – COLUMBIA WAY AND NELSON STREET

I was not entirely sure how I would cope with Christmas Day itself. My sister arrived at my home to pick me up at about 10AM, dropped me at Nelson Street where my aunt lives and the went to wash, change and wake up my nephew (the latter being by some way the hardest task!). A cup of coffee taken in the kitchen was a good start. Managing the stairs to use the toilet (had this proved beyond me there was a downstairs flat we could have accessed) was also good news. 

Lunch was excellent, and in accordance with the advice of Research Nurse Rebecca Bradley I consumed limited quantities of alcohol (one small glass of fizz and another of white wine).

After lunch we opened the presents, which went very well. The last present was unwrapped just before 4PM. At this point I decided to call it a day and get my lift home. I walked to Boal Quay car park where the car was waiting. 

Here are some pictures from the first part of Christmas Day…

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The first five pictures were taken at my bungalow in the morning.

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The cup I had my coffee in at Helen’s
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Presents laid out.

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Close up shots of the woodburner (using the zoom lens)

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A tiling pattern in the kitchen.
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Mr President put in an appearance among the presents!

One of my presents (I had already had a lot of stuff in advance, so most of the stuff I got on the day was small) was a stamp album with a few “Hagner” style pages. I devoted a little time to displaying some of the stamps that John from Musical Keys had given me while I was in hospital, and also to selecting some postcards to go in a little display album I had for them. I have yet to photograph the postcards, but here are some stamp pictures…

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Railway stamps.
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Insects and Birds
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Insects close up.
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Animals, Cras, Boats and Mountains
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Animals close up

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Mixed stamps.

I took one more picture, of my largest railway map, spread out on the carpet:

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BOXING DAY

My Boxing Day began on Australian time as I wanted to listen to the test match from the MCG. For a Pom it was a very satisfying listen as India finished day 1 strongly placed on 215-2 with Pujara and Kohli going well together. So far today is going quite well – the district nurse was happy with my temperature and blood pressure readings (the latter at 118/69 were about as good as they have been anytime in the last two months) and I although tired I am not experiencing any sort of adverse reaction to yesterday.

Heritage Open Day 2018 1: Setting the Scene

Starting my account of Heritage Open Day 2018.

INTRODUCTION

This year’s Heritage Open Day (Sunday 16th September) came in the middle of a very busy period for me. I was scheduled to cover the Bank House for two hours, and imagined spending a bit of time both before and after that taking in the rest of the event. As it happened I was laid up for the whole of the Saturday with a bug, and still not completely recovered by the Sunday morning. 

THE DAY ITSELF

Eventually, at just after 10:30AM, I set off to visit Hampton Court, reassure my aunt that I was well on the way to recovering and then make a fairly leisurely trip round to the Bank House. I took in an arts exhibition and made myself known to the photographers there. I also visited a solicitor’s office which is set in a Norman house. I arrived at the Bank House a bit early, and after reminding myself what the cellars looked like I spent a few minutes watching my predecessor handle things before I relieved him a little early because he was doing another session immediately afterwards. After two hours of what was basically a crowd control job (right in the slot for an autistic person – natch) I was quite tired, so after a brief visit to a club on Ferry Lane where I could consume some lqiuid refreshment while looking out over the river I went home to chill for a while before having supper with my aunt. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will be giving the solicitor’s office a post to itself, and will also be giving the Bank House extended coverage, so this pictures are from elsewhere:

SMP1SMP2Town Hall

Special Bus
This is an old red bus, made by Leyland who manufactured the iconic old London buses, but it is not a genuine London bus.
HC Plans
The passgeway leading in to the Secret Garden featured a historical display put together by the indefatigable Hendrina Ellis.

Wall mounted displayAmflesWilliam AmflesAtte Lathe to AmflesShip PicsAtte Lathe Picture

The secret garden
The series of arches at the rear of this shot were a warehouse frontage which in those days looked directly out on the river (now almost 100m distant from them)

Arches close upPlansWilliam Amfles IIFamiliesShipsPorttraitSecret GardenArchesbuilding plansEntrance to secret garden

rowing race
A rowing regatta was happening on the river.

leading row boatchasing row boat

Militia unit, Custom House
A militia company were stationed near the Custom House (the rifles were loaded with blanks btw)

militia menEntrance to CH

Art Exhibition 1
The first of a number of pictures from the art exhibition.

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Modern day mosaics
Creatures made using tessarae
Butterfly set in mosaic frame
This butterfly set into a mosaic frame particularly impressed me.

Nature based artObjects of inspiration

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A glimpse of the Tuesday Market Place
Guildhall of St George
The Guildhall of St George

Guarding Custom House

Walking boat
A walking boat – and no this is not the West Stand at Headingley on a Saturday!
Kings Lynn views
Two riverside views on display at Ferry Lane.

river viewSwimming gullboatsBaden Powell in action

Calendars and an Apology

An explanation of my recent lack of blogging activity and a sneak preview of the 2019 aspi.blog Cornish wall calendar (I will receive the printed versions by September 24th).

INTRODUCTION

The principal purpose of this post is to give you all a sneak preview of next year’s aspi.blog wall calendar. I am also going to explain why it has been a while since I last put up a blog post.

APOLOGY/ EXPLANATION

The reason why it has been a while since my last blog post is that I have had a very busy schedule of late, between work and various volunteering activities, and the one day on which I might have done a significant amount of blogging (Saturday) I lost to illness. I was sufficiently recovered by Sunday morning to do my volunteering for Heritage Open Day at the Bank House and to enjoy some of the experience, though I curtailed things somewhat so as not to set my recovery from the horrors of the previous day back. My opportunities will be somewhat limited during the rest of this week as I will be at the Corn Exchange helping to run an NAS West Norfolk stall for much of tomorrow and will be working Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. 

THE CALENDAR

Here are sneak previews of the 13 key pages of the calendar (not actual size). I decided to make this calendar a celebration both of my pictures and of the fine county of Cornwall…

Front cover

For January we have a picture of Fort Picklecombe:

Jan 2019

February features Brunel’s famous bridge at Saltash:

Feb 2019

For March the focus shifts to the far west of Cornwall, where with the exception of November and December it remains for the rest of the year. This is one of two pictures from a seal colony near St Ives to make an appearance.

March

The April picture is a trio – across the top a view from St Michaels Mount to Marazion, and sharing the bottom a heron at Lelant Saltings and a crab at St Ives.

April 2019

May features a shot of Carbis Bay.

May 2019

June features our second seal picture:

June 2019

July features the seaside garden at St Michael’s Mount, which members of the public can view only from above:

July

August is double-up, featuring a cannon emplacement at St Michaels Mount on top and a panoramic view of the mount and causeway below:

Aug 2019

September is a double up from St Ives showing an old phone box with a an antique Great Western Railway clock attached on one side and a close-up of the clock on the other:

Sep 2019

October features a red admiral butterfly spotted on the descent from St Michael’s Mount:

Oct 2019

November, sharing with July the distinction of a photo taken that month, features the lighthouse picture that is also my desktop background and the reverse side of my personal cards.

November 2019

December, just to emphasise what this calendar is all about features a shot of the Cornish flag.

Dec 2019

Each page of the calendar is 28cm wide and 21 cm high, meaning that when hanging up open and ready for use it is 28cm wide and 42cm high.

England 4 India 1 – A Retrospective

Final thoughts on the just concluded England v India test series.

INTRODUCTION

Jimmy Anderson just a few minutes ago rattled the stumps of Mohammad Shami to finish the England versus India series and simulataneously move ahead of Glenn McGrath and test wicket taking list to become the all time leading wicket taker among seamers. He still possibly has enough juice left to get past wrist spinner Anil Kumble (619) into third place overall but I suspect that the tallies of Warne (708) and Muralitharan (800) are too far distant for him. In the rest of this post I will summarise the series from my perspective.

MATCH BY MATCH THROUGH THE SERIES

Englandcame into this series off the back of a poor recent run in test matches (obliterated in Australia, a clear second best in New Zealand and an unconvincing drawn home series against Pakistan) but a lot of success in ODIs, which national selector Ed Smith decided to channel by means of the selections of Buttler and Rashid. India mean time were ranked no 1, a good margin clear of the rest.

MATCH 1: EDGBASTON

England led by 13 runs on first innings, which looked like meaning precisely nothing when they then began their second innings by slumping to 87-7. However, for the first but not last time in the series, India proved unable to complete the job, baulked on this occasion by Sam Curran’s first major contribution, and England eventually left India 194 to chase, which proved to be more than they could handle.

MATCH 2: LORD’S

From the moment India were all out for 107 in their first innings the fate of this match was pretty much settled. At 130-5 England were making heavy weather of their response but a maiden test century from Chris Woakes and 96 from Jonny Bairstow put the game well and truly out of India’s reach and in the event they collapsed a second time to lose by an innings and 159 runs.

MATCH 3: TRENT BRIDGE

This match was settled in the space of an hour and a half on the second day, when England facing an Indian first innings of 329 slumped from 54-0 to 128-9. Even then the last apir cobbled together 33 to reduce the deficit, but the damage had been done, and India ran out comfortable and deserving winners

MATCH 4: THE AGEAS BOWL

When England were 86-6 after winning the toss and batting it looked like the final match would be a decider. However, with Sam Curran playing a second fine innings to rescue a dreadful start England reached 246. India took a small first innings lead, but England batted better second time around and India never threatened to get close in the fourth innings. England had sealed the series with a match to spare.

MATCH 5: THE OVAL

England were playing for pride and a bit of history in this match. After Jennings had fallen cheaply to the surprise of precisely no one who had been following the series Cook and Moeen Ali looked to have stabilised things, but then a clatter of wickets reduced England to 181-7. Buttler and Rashid made it through the the close at 198-7. When Rashid was dismissed early on the second day to make it 214-8 India seemed to be in the box seat. Then in what had become a recurring theme of the series India failed to finish what they had started. Kohli, one the three best batters currently eligible for test cricket (alongside Root and Kane Williamson of New Zealand), is also one of its worst ever captains, and here he was concentrating so much on trying to prevent Buttler from getting the strike that he seemed to forget about taking wickets with the result that England’s total mushroomed to 332. India in their own first innings staged a late order revival to reduce what had looke like being a three figure deficit to a mere 40. After Jennings had gone cheaply and Moeen Ali had also not done very much Cook in his final test innings and Root joined forces. This was the partnership that placed England’s boot firmly on India’s throat, as both completed hundreds, Cook in the process becoming test cricket’s all time most prolific left hander. Both lost their wickets in successive balls, and then after a bit of bat throwing by those lower in the order England declared setting India 464 to win.

Anderson took two wickets with the new ball to draw level with McGrath, while Kohli managed to complete his series without once falling to Anderson (by instead being done first ball by Stuart Broad), at which point India were 2-3 and the 4-1 outcome looked nailed on. A thunderous partnership on the final day between Lokesh Rahul and Rishabh Pant who both made centuries (Pant’s, his first in test cricket, could almost be described as a Gilchristian effort) but England broke through, and although for a long time it looked like India might escape with a draw the prospect of defeat never really loomed. Sam Curran took the eighth and ninth wickets with the second new ball (the latter of them being Jadeja, leaving nos 10 and 11, both out and out rabbits – indeed Bumrah at no 11 may even merit the term ferret). Bumrah managed to survive the last two balls of a Curran over, which meant that Anderson had a full over at two out and out tailenders in which to make history. With the third ball of said over Anderson did the trick as mentioned in the introduction. 

Curran, who by taking his late wickets here had become only the second person to record 250 runs and 10 wickets in a test series before reaching the age of 21 (the other was chap by the name of Kapil Dev who may be familiar to some of you!) was rewarded for his all-round endeavours by being named England player of the series, while scores of 71 and 147 in his international swansong saw Cook named player of the match. 

This was a truly extraordinary match, leaving me to ask a question: William Shakespeare did you secretly emerge from the grave to script this?!

4-1 – FAIR OR HARSH ON INDIA?

I have written about this before (see here), but I am now going to dot the is and cross the ts. Yes, as well as their big win at Trent Bridge India had good chances in three of the other matches, including the one just concluded, but the simple fact is that far too often they could press home the advantage when they had it, and every time they had an opportunity to close out a match England did so. Therefore, I say that 4-1 is a fair reflection of the series. However, not all in the England garden is rosy – the departure of Cook and the repeated failures of Jennings mean that England need a new opening pair, and have seven test matches before the arrival in town of the oldest enemy, the Aussies, for that pair to establish themselves. Also, given the reluctance of Root to bat there and the fact that Ali while adequate seems to morph into a darker skinned version of Chris Tavare when he bats there England also have problems filling the number three slot. This uncertainty at the top has been reflected in a series of poor starts to the England innings, most of which, save at Trent Bridge, were turned around by the middle and lower orders into something at least respectable. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

A few from James and Sons collector’s auction on September 26, which is now ready for viewing online.

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Lot 283, slightly frustrating for me…
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…because if this ASLEF commemorative plate had been being sold as a single item I would certainly bid for it.

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A selection of antique maps (lots 100-5 inclusive)

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110
This picture of the Rhine is lot 110 (four images)

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234
Lot 234, one of two figurines featuring leading French generals fron the Napoleonic era.

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Lot 235, Napoleon himself no less.

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Cook Signing Off In Style As England Close In On 4-1 Series Victory

A ‘farewell to Alastair Cook’ post, with some suggestions for the future.

INTRODUCTION

As well as this current match I will be looking to the future (and inevitably back to the past). 

ENGLAND IN COMPLETE COMMAND

Alastair Cook has ensured that tomorrow’s sports pages will feature one story and one story only by reaching a century in his final test innings (it is not quite a duplication of Greg Chappell’s ‘full circle’ act of scoring centuries in his first and last test innings, because Cook reached his maiden ton in the second innings of his debut match, but it is a unique bookending double for Cook because he scored a fiftty and a century on debut and has now done the same in his final test match. The hundred was brought up courtesy of Jasprit Bumrah’s KP impression – shying wildly at the stumps with no chance of a run out even if he had hit and seeing the ball race away for four overthrows, allowing Cook the rare distinction of completing his hundred with a five. Cook has just gone for 147. His aggregate of 218 in his final match is not a record – that belongs to Andy Sandham who at the age of 39 scored 325 and 50 against the West Indies at Sabina Park (in a match that was abandoned as a draw after two days were washed out and England then had to catch the boat home). For the home series against Australia England reverted to the regular opening combo of Hobbs and Sutcliffe, and as fortune would have it Sandham never played again, while second in that roll of honour is Bill Ponsford who scored 266 and 23 the Oval in 1934, helping Australia to clinch the Ashes with victory by 562 runs. Among the welter of records generated by this final innings Cook is now established as the most prolific test match left hander of all time, having moved ahead of Kumar Sanggakkara. Cook finishes with 12472 runs at 45.35 and having occupied the crease in test match cricket for just over 621 hours in the course of his career (103.5 days play = batting for the equivalent of just over 20 of his 161 test matches). 

The fairytale script for the rest of this match has Anderson moving ahead of McGrath to become the leading wicket taking seamer in test cricket history, preferably with the history making wicket being that of Virat Kohli. Given the size of England’s lead and the amount of time left in the game the victory is pretty much nailed on.

THE FUTURE

Thanks to their policy of sticking with Jennings long past his sell by date England now need two new openers. I see the following options for England now:

  1. The cowardly (and in my view indefensible) option of sticking with Jennings and recalling Stoneman so that they have an opening pair who have both played test cricket.
  2. The “safe” option of going with one of Stoneman/ Jennings and presumably one out of Rory Burns or Nick Gubbins
  3. Go for a complete fresh start with Burns and Gubbins both debuting at the top of the order. Preferable in my view to either 1 or 2 but hardly ideal.
  4. The left-field option that I have mentioned in previous posts (here for example) of giving Tammy Beaumont who has been scoring bucketloads in international cricket the opportunity to play alongisde the men and giving the other opening slot to either Burns or Gubbins. 

Option 1 if taken would see me breathing fire, option 2 would be disappointing but unsurprising, I would applaud the taking of option 3, while I recognize that there is basically zero chance of option 4 being taken I would love to see it happen. 

Apart from the retired Cook and the (I hope) dropped Jennings I would include the other nine from this match,  Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood in the touring party to Sri Lanka, add in Bess as an extra spinning option (likely to be needed in that part of the world), certainly give consideration to further beefing up the spin department with Amar Virdi, and pick top order batters Beaumont, Burns and Gubbins envisaging the first two as regular openers and Gubbins as back-up in case of injury. Certainly three genuine openers are needed, and as far as I am concerned if either Stoneman or Jennings feature the selectors will have failed in their duty. England have seven matches to develop a settled side before the Aussies come calling next year, and need to use them properly – and picking two openers who are proven failures at the highest level would not be doing that.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

While I have been writing this England have reached tea with their lead already past 400. The final session should go as follows: cram on as many runs as possible in 1st hour after tea and then declare if not all out, and then get stuck into India hoping to knock the top off their second innings before the close. Being greedy, and tomorrow being a work day, I hope Anderson gets his three to move ahead of McGrath tonight, as if he doesn’t I will almost certainly miss that historic moment. 

If, as now seems likely, England win this series 4-1 will they have deserved it? Absolutely – yes India had good chances at times of four of the five matches in this series but save at Trent Bridge they could not close things out. In match 1 England were 87-7 in their second innings, only 100 to the good, but the last three wickets more than doubled their score to set a target that India could (and ultimately did) get in trouble chasing, in the second game England dominated from start to finish, while in the third India did likewise, in the fourth England were 86-6 in the first innings and recovered to reach 246, and in this match England were 181-7 and then 214-8 in the first innings before India let things slip to such an extent that England tallied 332 in the end, and since that late order revival they have been in control (although India’s tail staged a minor wag of their own to restrict the first innings advantage to a mere 40).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are a few photographs to finish with:

Emu picture
The latest addition to my aunt’s collection of pictures – a very good representation of an Emu
Signature
The artists signature
Oxburgh Hall jigsaw
A high quality jigsaw of Oxburgh Hall, which I photographed before I had to disassemble it and replace in its box as we needed all the space on that table clear (it was Sunday supper at my aunt’s house and there were five of us there).
ceremony, KL war memorial
A ceremony taking place at the main King’s Lynn war memorial.
antique bike
An antique bike outside a shop on Tower Street.